January 3, 2010

Marvel Snapshot: The Cosmic Scene

Hello again and welcome to this week’s edition of Marvel Snapshot. In this week’s column I’ll be discussing Marvel’s Cosmic Scene! There has been a lot going on in the last year out there in the vastness of space and I for one have been loving it. This particular genre hasn’t received its due recognition in my humble opinion and I’ll definitely be letting you know why; so get ready to learn about a hidden gem or two this week!

So to start things off, I’m going to ask a question: What makes a good comic great? For me, one of the major factors is stability. The two gentlemen that are basically running Marvel’s cosmic scene right now are Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning. They are the textbook definition of stability for Guardians of the Galaxy and Nova. They have been writing Guardians since the re-boot in 2008 and Nova since 2007. I personally have every issue of Guardians and it’s not just Marvel’s best cosmic book in my eyes, but their best book period. No contest, no questions asked and there’s no other way to put it.

I’ve got to admit something though: I never even heard of these two fellows before Annihilation: Conquest. They’ve been collaborating way before that and in the biz separately since the late 80s. Their first big break together was with DC in the re-launch of Legion of Superheroes in 2000. Consistency is the key for Marvel in this area and they are a huge part of that. Just look at War of Kings for example. That book didn’t exactly get the royal treatment from Marvel as far as advertising goes. I think they got a little boost though from the X-fans because of Kingbreaker and Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire.Those two story lines alone were phenomenal and really helped pave the way for Abnett & Lanning to blast off with War of Kings and now Realm of Kings. Both of these guys have been signed to a Marvel exclusive contract so they aren’t going anywhere for a while either.

Let’s talk a little about Realm of Kings shall we? First off, if you didn’t get the one-shot, pick it up immediately. It was really cool and showed Quasar and the Guardians making a game plan for a trip into The Fault. If you don’t know what the Fault is I’ll tell you: it’s a giant tear in space/time that was caused by Black Bolt’s bomb that was supposed to turn everybody into Inhumans. BB thought that this would end all the fighting because everybody would be the same, technically. Honestly, I don’t see the logic in that but hey, let a guy dream.

Vulcan learned of this bomb and fought Blackie to a stand still and then whoosh, the bomb exploded prematurely and voila, we have The Fault. So, anyway, Quasar goes into this unexplored region alone and before he knows it, he gets sucked into a black-hole and winds up on some “other-Earth.” Here, a sentient alien being has taken over and most of the heroes are trying to find food for this beast at any cost. I know its been done before but it is still really cool to see evil versions of some of Marvel’s characters. Scarlet Witch and Thor look absolutely devious in this issue.  By the books’ end we see Quasar back in our universe but there’s a gleam in his eyes that doesn’t look like the Wendell Vaughn we all know.

I must say of the two Realm books that the Imperial Guard limited series is far above and beyond the Inhumans mini. The Inhumans book did have a guest appearance from The Mighty Avengers and it appears that Maximus, Black Bolt’s brother, is scheming behind the scenes once again to wrestle away control from the acting ruler, Medusa. So hopefully that book can pick up some speed before it ends. 

On the other hand, the Imperial Guard book for me is way more interesting. Lots of action, a symbiote that is calling out to the Starjammer Raza, and even an unlikely partnership between the Shi’ar Imperial Guard and the Starjammer’s. These two teams are almost at each other’s throats during a mission inside The Fault. Inside, the teams are about to be eaten so if they don’t quickly learn how to become a cohesive unit and fast, they’ll wind up as someones dinner! Both of these titles are only 5 issues so hopefully they can do some big things before their time is up. The previews I have seen show that there is definitely going to be an appearance by someone with a very large voice in the next issue. I for one hope to see Vulcan sooner than later as well.

In the last few issues of Guardians we’ve seen some pretty shocking and messed up stuff going on. In issue #19, Adam Warlock’s alter ego, Magus, had taken control over Adam’s mind and body and was delivering a real beating to the team. Regretfully though, Star-Lord (Peter Quill), did what had to be done and shot Magus in the head. By this time though,  Magus had already killed Gamora, Phyla-Vell, Mantis, Cosmo, and Major Victory. This was one of those moments where I sat in my room and said “no way!” Nobody saw this coming and that’s what made it so good.

In the latest issue of Guardians, we see an alien threat aboard Nowhere (the space station where the team resides) and Moondragon becomes the unwilling host for it. She actually lets it slither inside her nostril and inhabit her body to save the lives of everybody on Nowhere. It basically appears that she is pregnant with this beast inside her stomach! I hope more of these sort of surprises are on the horizon for this title and all the cosmic books in general. They need this edge to keep moving since they aren’t the heavy rotation books like X-Men or Avengers. But I’ll tell you something: if faced with the ultimate choice of having to give up some titles from my pull list these would be dead last!

Well, that’s it for now but I can’t tell you enough good things about these books, and more importantly the writing team. So if you’re looking for something new and exciting at your LCS (local comic shop) then pick up one of the aforementioned titles, you won’t be disappointed! Abnett & Lanning deserve the utmost praise for their exemplary work on Marvel’s Cosmic Scene! See you next week!

Billy Dunleavy



  1. You’re right about one thing: I only got into the Marvel Cosmic scene because of the X-tie-ins. I’ve surprisingly really enjoyed it so far and have become a fan of not only the Imperial Guard, but the Inhumans as well.

    …and why is Maximus still around? After reading what he did in Marvel Knights: Inhumans, that dude should be put to sleep…permanently.

    I love the Starjammers, but where the heck are the rest of them in the Imperial Guard title?

    Have you ever read this gem from the 80s by Lanning:

  2. billy

    @Andy-I’m right there with you. Rise and Fall rreally got into cosmic books. I had been a fan of Thanos Quest and Infinity Gauntlet but the Rise and Fall along with Emperor Vulcan really sealed the deal. Although as stated above, right now I’d stick with Guardians over any book. Even **gasp** X-Books! lol

  3. billy

    @Andy-I’m right there with you. Rise and Fall really got into cosmic books. I had been a fan of Thanos Quest and Infinity Gauntlet but the Rise and Fall along with Emperor Vulcan really sealed the deal. Although as stated above, right now I’d stick with Guardians over any book. Even **gasp** X-Books! lol

  4. infinite speech

    I usually only stuck with very few cosmic books but the past 3 years have pretty much changed that due to GOTG and the WOK and ROK books and of course Annihilation

  5. Eli

    I’ve always loved Marvel’s cosmic stuff, since my first introduction to it with Infinity Gauntlet and Jim Starlin. I have to agree with you here Billy, Abnett & Lanning have kept my attention since Annihilation as well.

    This really is a great time for the cosmic stuff from both of the big two. With all the GL stuff going on over at DC the past few years, and this stuff at Marvel, it’s a cosmic fanboy’s golden age.

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